Volkswagen’s Audi brand expects to mark its centennial birthday with its first annual sales drop in 14 years as manufacturers grapple with an ever-deepening crisis in global car markets. In its annual report published today Audi stated that “2009 will probably be the most difficult year in the history of the automotive industry”
It also said that revenue will likely decline along with vehicle sales but earnings should be less affected by the fall in demand thanks to cost management and productivity gains and that “there remains no need for external sources of financing,”
VW’s premium brand will continue to invest around 2 billion Euros each year, largely in new products, and said it would keep staffing levels roughly stable as it ramps up for long-term growth.
Audi plans to expand its vehicle range to 40 models by 2015 from the 28 now. This includes next year’s planned launch of its “A1” model that will be built in Brussels and the roll-out of its compact “Q3” SUV in 2011.